Letter to My Younger, Newly Widowed Self

Dear Sara,

Life is a blur. It doesn’t feel real. I know you don’t care about eating or even getting out of bed. It’s hard for anyone to imagine what you are going through, yet their lives go on. It goes on until they see your face. Then, it becomes all too real how quickly life can change. You are a constant reminder of everyone’s worst fear.

To make themselves feel a little better, to ease their discomfort, they offer you encouraging words. “It’ll get better. I promise,” they say. “Time heals all wounds,” they reassure. “Everything happens for a reason,” they add. You listen nicely and move on. Afterall, you do realize they mean well. And they do. To be honest, these comments are not about you. It’s about easing their own discomfort. It’s about wiping this particular nightmare from their sleep. It isn’t that they don’t know what it’s like or they can’t see the pain. They might know how it feels. Believe me, they can see the pain.

They know nothing can make you feel better. Nothing can ease that pain. There are no words to fix what you are going through. None. If they could do something to fix it, they probably would. So, put away the negative thoughts. Quit the banter going through your head. Cut them a break. Besides, they might just be right, or at least on the right track.

You can’t see it now, there is too much pain. You can’t even manage to get through a whole thought. Your world is spinning. Oh, believe me, I remember.

You are doing the right things. The time spent with the kids does matter. It’s okay to stay on the couch. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay not to return phone calls. And it’s even okay to give up on ever being happy. At some point, you will get out of bed, shower, and leave the house–all in one day, even. Eventually, you will smile. When you think of him, you might even chuckle. And, one day, you will miss companionship so badly that you will consider meeting someone new.

If I could pass on one thing to my younger, newly widowed self, it would be this: You will live again–and happily.

I don’t want to seem apathetic or idealistic. You work hard. You put in long hours. You worry and cry. There are good days and bad. It does get better. Eventually, time does help you put things into perspective. And, everything is going to be okay.

As I sit here, happy, looking back, I can tell you that much of what those do-gooders said was true.

Please, don’t be afraid. That is the one thing you don’t have to be. Be kind to yourself. Take time for yourself once in awhile; wrap yourself around the kids the rest of the time.

It’s a journey you didn’t ask for, but it’s one worth taking. Just hold on.

Love,

Your older, wiser, happy self.